Photographer Ewen Macintyre caught some great moments during our show Twofold at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton.
It was with a real sense of pride and joy that Shropshire Inclusive Dance shared ‘Twofold’ to audiences at the Wolverhampton Arena. The work on show was a culmination of our ‘Two to Tango’ project funded by Creative Black Country. Eloquent and diverse duets by Contact Dance Company were performed alongside performances by groups in Wolverhampton we have worked with including Westcroft School and Mosaic Disability Theatre. The rich experiences and beautiful dancing that were present in our community workshops and company rehearsals all really come to life.
Here is a review from one of our audience members
‘Yesterday I had the joy of watching Contact Dance perform their programme Twofold twice, at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton. I can’t begin to communicate the profound beauty of choreographic connection conveyed by this company, thanks to the diverse skill and passion for dance demonstrated by all the artists. There is such a rich landscape of emotion, dynamic, and depth which touches and transports one across the stage and beyond. In this particular programme, through all the pieces weaved the theme of dueting; exploring and expressing the dynamics which come into play when individuals engage and merge with one another on many levels of relationship.
In ‘Unspoken’ Mervyn Bradley and Rachel Liggitt speak directly to the heart in their sensitive exploration of friendship and its ebbs and flows. Each supporting and protecting, while encouraging the other to take risks. Attachment and autonomy are in flow. Always maintained is the security of unconditional trust and tenderness, whether the dancers are connected or divided. This is about the ‘work’ of friendship, the effort, honesty and compromise necessary to nurture and empower a lasting bond with another person. This is also about love. The love that exists when two people understand and appreciate one another on a level that goes beyond words. Two very different dancers, Mervyn and Rachel take us on a poignant journey through the unity and solace to be found in true friend.
My brother Michael Wall and Andrew Kelly bring a powerful, energetic intensity to the stage in ‘While you broke through to other worlds’, thought provoking and open to individual interpretation. Is this a parting or a meeting? A reconciliation or a conflict? Perhaps these two people have discovered a division of ways along a previously shared path. There is certainly an insular atmosphere surrounding two separate entities striving to make opposite journeys; but somehow we know that each dancer has a fundamental need for the other. There remains a certainty that each man is facilitating and inspiring the other in his choices of direction. They resemble machines or rockets preparing for take off and landing, the self-contained movements erupting into sudden initiations of contact; launching, throwing, clasping, pushing. Aptly, Andrew’s and Michael’s voices ‘break through’ the music at the start and the end, reminding us that this is not a mechanical process, but very much a human one.
‘Twosome’ is a glorious, playful celebration of twinning; of the delight and harmony to be found in individual expression of the same ideas and motivations. Delphine Wise glides about the stage with grace and precision, as she manouvres the brakes and intricacies of her wheelchair, integral to the spirit of the choreography. Anna Belyavin executes identical movements by foot, running and spinning alongside. There is a sisterly affection, a vibrant closeness between the dancers allowing each to predict and be energised by the other’s interpretation of the choreography, reciprocating the gestures and movements extended and retracted. There are moments when each woman embarks on her own movement motif simultaneously, reminding us that identical motivations have potential for diverse consequences.
In the poetic ‘Father Daughter’, Chloe Shepherd and Ray Jacobs (who was standing in last night for Chloe’s real-life father and usual dance partner), tell the story of family love in a secluded rural cottage. Following a rustic morris dance, Chloe’s birth and childhood is represented by the celebration of an invisible baby; shown to the audience by her father, glowing with pride and wonder. Then Chloe, now a beautiful young woman, emerges from the shadows for real, and the two begin to waltz tenderly, spinning and stepping in time, absorbed by their joy in one another. We witness the hard work of winter life at the cottage, the chopping of wood and the fuelling of fires. Throughout the narrative, Chloe’s journey to maturity is conveyed by hints of gentle conflict between father and daughter; her desire for independence confronting his awareness that parental protectiveness must now be accompanied by detachment and an encouragement of freedom. He retreats into the shadows and we are left with Chloe in a spotlight, standing alone, venturing forth as her own self-reliant woman.
Contact Dance elevate me to a place of pure joy; reaffirming my faith in dance as an expression of the soul as much as the body. This company is a gift to the world of theatre and community. It was also a privilege to watch the students of Westcroft School in their piece ‘Connections’, and Mozaic Disability Theatre performing ‘Will You Dance With Me’.
Contact Dance Company’s beautiful and moving duet ‘Father Daughter’ has been creating waves and softening hearts wherever it is performed. The piece performed by Kevin and Chloe Shepherd at Birmingham Mac as part of the Creative Minds conference,drew a big audience who were moved by the piece and applauded loudly.
Creative Minds Midlands was the fifth and final event in a series of groundbreaking conferences initiated by learning disabled artists. It was led by a group of under-25s, under the banner ‘A Better Generation’. Creative Minds Midlands was a chance to learn from those young people with learning disabilities who are forging careers in the arts against the odds.
The performance was requested by the Creative Minds organising committee who felt that the duet was a great example of people working together to create high quality powerful performance.
After being showcased at Contact Dance Company’s celebration of duets ‘Twofold’ at Wolverhampton Arena, the work is being shown as part of an inclusive dance festival in Malta.
Dancers from Contact Dance Company spellbound a packed audience at The Gateway Centre in Shrewsbury. The evening was introduced by the chairperson of Shropshire Inclusive Dance board of directors Alison Overton.
Contact Dance Company began the evening by sharing a company dance warm-up. Including members of its ‘inclusive dance for beginners’ class held at the Gateway Centre. The warm up, led by co-director Ray Jacobs, shared with the audience the importance of connection between the dancers and the importance of truly arriving in the body.
The first dance to be shared was ‘Unspoken’ A beautiful and tender duet performed and choreographed by Rachel Liggitt and Mervyn Bradley. This duet conjures up some of the many special qualities of Contact Dance Companies work, The importance of touch, connection and presence.
One duet followed another, two dancers with incredible physical and emotional qualities Michael Wall and Andrew Kelly performed ‘ While you broke through to other worlds’ One dancer launched to the heavens while the other was simply left standing, a theme exemplified by two incredibly different dancers finding powerful moments of togetherness and separation. The work was directed by Ray Jacobs
The inclusive education work of Shropshire Inclusive Dance who manage, direct and cherish Contact Dance Company was celebrated through the sharing of a short film ‘Flying High’. The film can be watched here
Twinning was the next duet to be shared. A beautiful, precise and strong duet performed by Delphine Wise and Anna Belyavin. The piece explores and celebrates the intuitive connection between twins. Fast paced, connected and tender, Twinning was choreographed by Rachel liggitt and the dancers.
The connection between father, daughter and place was explored through the next duet Father/Daughter
Father and daughter, Kevin Shepherd and Chloe Shepherd mesmerised the audience with an earthy, heartfelt celebration of their own connection.A story of Chloe’s birth to finding her own independence was danced, alongside her fathers journey of trepidation, fatherly protection, encouragement and letting go.
The work was choreographed by Rachel Liggitt and the dancers.
The evening culminated in an ensemble piece of 12 dancers entitled Signals. Signals was choreographed by Ray Jacobs and the dancers.
Taking the theme of signalling and lighthouses. The work celebrated the individuality of each dancer, Each person with their own way of reaching out and responding across distance or through touch. Landscapes were conjured only to melt away and disapeer. The final image of tall dancer Michael Wall signalling far away while another listened closely to his heart stayed with the audience.
Shropshire Inclusive Dance warmly invites you to a summer sharing
with Contact Dance Company.
An informal sharing of four beautifully crafted dance duets, a new ensemble piece entitled ‘Signal’ and much more……….
Where: The Gateway Education & Arts Centre, Chester St, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
When: Thursday July 6th 2017
Time: 7 – 9pm
Cost: £5 adults / children FREE
To guarantee a seat please book in advance by emailing email@example.com
Congratulations to Contact Dance member Michael for gaining a place at Chester University to study Dance in September – absolutely brilliant!
Great news – We are absolutely delighted to announce that SiD has received funding to continue to deliver fantastic projects in Shropshire and beyond.
Shropshire Council for supporting the development of our organisation and on-going practical dance workshops.
Basil Houghton Trust for supporting the creation of new dance duets with Contact Dance, spring/summer 2017
Creative Black Country Open Access Fund for supporting our ‘Two to Tango’ project in Wolverhampton, autumn 2017.
Telford and Wrekin Council on our capital funding grant allowing us to refresh and renew out resources and workshop materials for our work with children and young people – new props, books, music and SiD t-shirts are on there way!
Telford and Wrekin Council for our renewed Short Breaks commission – continued delivery of after school dance clubs for children and young people with disabilities in Telford.